The Astros swing a trade for Tyler White and will designate Tony Kemp for assignment.
After designating first baseman Tyler White for assignment, the Astros were able to trade White to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for minor league pitcher Andre Scrubb. Meanwhile, the Astros will reportedly designate outfielder/second baseman Tony Kemp for assignment to clear a roster spot for Carlos Correa when he returns from the IL on Friday.
White produced -0.7 WAR this season for the Astros, culminating in the loss of his roster spot with the emergence of Yordan Alvarez. The 28-year-old was out of minor league options, so the Astros could not simply send him back to Triple-A. At least by trading him they were able to extract some degree of value.
The 27-year-old Kemp has not provided great value this season either, posting a .227/.308/.417 batting line in 66 games. He is also out of options and has been outplayed by the young speedster Myles Straw. The Astros will have seven days to trade or release Kemp if he is not claimed on waivers by another team.
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Both White and Kemp put up solid numbers in 2018, prompting the Astros to keep them on the roster this season in hopes of extracting repeat performances. Neither was able to keep the momentum going, however, and they were both passed up by younger players who simply performed better.
The Dodgers recently lost Chris Taylor to a forearm fracture, so they’re evidently looking for White to provide a solid right-handed bat off the bench with occasional starts in the infield, and they were willing to give up a promising young arm to get that.
The Return for White
Scrubb is a 24-year-old right-handed pitcher standing at 6’4″ and weighing 265 pounds. He was an eighth-round draft pick by the Dodgers in 2016 after pitching at High Point. He’s been primarily a reliever throughout his career and has made two starts and 27 relief appearances this season for Double-A Tulsa.
In those appearances totaling 47.2 innings, Scrubb has compiled a 2.45 ERA and 1.217 WHIP. He’s striking out 10.6 batters per nine innings but walking 4.3 per nine. He’s done a good job at limiting opponents’ batting averages, allowing just 6.4 hits per nine across his minor league career.
The numbers suggest he has a live arm and does a good job of limiting hard contact, allowing just three homers so far this season. But he’s also struggled with free passes throughout his career, so there’s some work to be done to hone his command.
Scrubb is not listed among the Dodgers’ Top 30 prospects, and he’s eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this December, meaning he will need to be on the 40-man roster or risk being drafted by another club. The Astros are taking a chance and clearly hoping he will show enough potential to earn such a roster spot. Considering they could have lost White for nothing, it’s a gamble worth taking.
With the trade deadline coming up, perhaps Kemp can be packaged into a deal for some pitching help. We should know more by the time the deadline hits on July 31, so stay tuned.